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The Origin of the Trinity: From Paganism to Constantine

[RULES ABOUT TRINITY DISCUSSION:  Maximum of 500 words per day or your comments will be removed.  Do not post a comment unless you are willing to thoughtfully and honestly consider any responses.]

While the majority of the Christian world considers the concept of the Trinity vital to Christianity, many historians and Bible scholars agree that the Trinity of Christianity owes more to Greek philosophy and pagan polytheism than to the monotheism of the Jew and the Jewish Jesus.     The historian S. H. Hooke tells in detail of the ancient Sumerian trinity: Anu was the primary god of heaven, the ‘Father’, and the ‘King of the Gods’; Enlil, the ‘wind-god’ was the god of the earth, and a creator god; and Enki was the god of waters and the ‘lord of wisdom’ (15-18). The historian, H. W. F. Saggs, explains that the Babylonian triad consisted of ‘three gods of roughly equal rank… whose inter-relationship is of the essence of their natures’ (316).

Egypt’s history is similar to Sumeria’s in antiquity. In his Egyptian Myths, George Hart, lecturer for the British Museum and professor of ancient Egyptian heiroglyphics at the University of London, shows how Egypt also believed in a ‘transcendental, above creation, and preexisting’ one, the god Amun. Amun was really three gods in one. Re was his face, Ptah his body, and Amun his hidden identity (24). The well-known historian Will Durant concurs that Ra, Amon, and Ptah were ‘combined as three embodiments or aspects of one supreme and triune deity’ (Oriental Heritage 201). Additionally, a hymn to Amun written in the 14th century BC defines the Egyptian trinity: ‘All Gods are three: Amun, Re, Ptah; they have no equal. His name is hidden as Amun, he is Re… before [men], and his body is Ptah’ (Hornung 219).

Durant submits that ‘from Egypt came the ideas of a divine trinity…’ (Caesar 595). Dr. Gordon Laing, retired Dean of the Humanities Department at the University of Chicago, agrees that ‘the worship of the Egyptian triad Isis, Serapis, and the child Horus’ probably accustomed the early church theologians to the idea of a triune God, and was influential ‘in the formulation of the doctrine of the Trinity as set forth in the Nicaean and Athanasian creeds’ (128-129).

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10 comments to The Origin of the Trinity: From Paganism to Constantine

  • Jacqueline (Bible Student)

    Probably everything that can be said for and against the trinity was said here on some of these articles. For those readers wanting to see a discussion on the trinity.
    http://www.friendsofjehovahswitnesses.com/category/trinity/

    Trinitarians will argue all week and for weeks if you allow them to take up that much of your time. Most aren’t satisfied with just having a personal relationship with God and belief that he is triune, they try to force others to see it that way also.
    Arguing alters our peace of mind, at least it does for me. But for those that might want to know what is said for and against read these articles and rebuttal by looking up every scripture you can draw your own conclusion. Take Care

  • Anonymous

    The debate. Over John1:1 is irrelevant as it is one verse in the scriptures . For example Proverbs1:5 give the key to this lesson on biblical comprehension . Christ Jesus quoted the education of God as well as the writing of the prophets . The apostle Paul reasoning in the synagogues Act17:17 Act18:26-28 and later in Romans 1:21 points to the problem that hinders logical progression. It is not what scholars over the centuries debate but rather the need to except that all scripture is inspired of God . 2 Timothy 3:16 is the key to ones divine education which calls for reading the Holy Bible. The exclusion of one scripture due to translation error can be rectified by knowing the rest of the Holy Bible on the matter of discussion with what is know as reference scriptures. Enjoy your research in the Bible for this is a freedom our loving Creator Jehovah has provided for family life

    • Peter K. (admin)

      Anonymous – Well said. To recap in my words, the answer is coming to the Bible with faith that it is the isnpired Word of God and submitting to the answers therein provided. The common, but wrong approach, is to study the Bible to find confirmation for the doctrines we already beleive (unless we have already honestly proven the doctrine by reconciling and harmonizing all the scriptures on that topic).

  • James P. Jaroszewski

    Controversial topic to say the least! I was raised Catholic, converted to the J.W.’s as a teenager, left the W.T. format 17 years later, became “Born again”, practiced Buddhism, bought into much “New Age” thinking creating a mind melting pot for myself. It would seem very logical to me that God would not send me to hell for believing too much…nor would He judge me harshly by a standard I do not fully understand especially IF I seek Him and His Spirit and Truth in earnest! The Greatest story ever told, about the most controversial Figure of all time Who represents “a God of many tender mercies”! As I learn more Truth it displaces and replaces many fallacies I’ve long held but far be it from me to define God as Triune or not but my leanings are Trinitarian in spirit as “He and the Father are one”, King Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father and at the Father’s left? Could this be a Holy Family as it were? A Godly pattern for Godly creatures? Just saying! We simply cannot put God in a bottle and treat him as a defined specimen… it is written the depths of His knowledge / understanding is unfathomable of course, who can fully know it? I love this about the Lord, how He in good time reveals Himself to us in Loving, Godly doses.

  • Keepha

    It is a striking fact that Jesus never referred to himself as “God.” Equally remarkable is the New Testament’s use of the word “God”—in Greek ho theos—to refer to the Father alone, some 1325 times.

  • Anonymous

    Reader

    Mark 12:32 The scribe said to him Well, Teacher, in truth thou saidst, that God is one and there is no other God except him.

    God is one, simple as can be. I also thank you for man being made in his image that you gave. We are one and the same.

    Thanks for sharing that.

  • The simplest non Trinitarian argument is “in God’s image he Created him”.
    Surely God can copy his image accurately, if He is a trinity He only did a third of the job!
    Self inspection is we are fiercely individual not triune in nature.

    B

  • Took some years to see this, as it is well hidden in plain sight.
    Adam and Eve are the trinity or rather trinities.
    The Osiris (killed god) is Adam eating the fruit.
    Horus raised son is Adam (who did not actually die in the day-the death stroke got healed).
    Isis is sister wife of Osiris HENCE;
    Osiris and Horus are the same person =1 married =2
    As two are one flesh =1
    Trinity is no longer a mystery
    http://yahweh-immanuel.info/eden%20profane%20pt3.html#3equals1
    Hope this helps, not easy stuff
    B

  • max

    Greetings on John 1:1;

    1:1,”en arch hn o logoV kai o logoV ton qeon kai qoeV hn o logoV.”
    1:1.”Hn teHoueite neFSoop nCi pSaJe auw pSaJe neFSoop nnaHrm pnoute auw neunoute pe pSaJe.”
    First Koine Greek
    kata iwannh
    Second Sahidic Coptic
    peuaggelion nkata iw Hannhs
    You may freely copy and distribute this work. This being a reproduction of the origal work published before 1923. George William Horner

    1:1,”In the beginning was being the word, and the word was being with God, and [a] God was the word.”

    Please note the first God=pnoute The second=neunoute
    The Koine Greek first God=qeon The second=qeoV
    If he is the same One God, why not use the same word for God? qeon and pnoute?

  • Will Kirby

    Hi
    Although I am Not a Trinitarian, i would like to offer some thoughts on a scriptures used to support a non-trin position which as i will propose to show are not really that suportive of this position.

    the classic John1;1 is the first,
    non trins will agree that was “A” God should added and not accept merely “Was God”. This however is adding to scripture.

    firstly the trinity is not a teaching that God the father can exist, or even subsist in 3 forms which non trins mistakenly think the trinity is.

    James Moffatt, in his NT translation, even through he was a staunch trinitarian could not bring himself to translate John 1;1 as “was God”, but correctly wrote; “Was Divine”.
    “In the begining was the Word and the word was with God and the word was DIVINE” the “A” god is not neccasarry. Moffatt wanted to convay that Jesus was of Divine Nature he was not saying Jesus was GOD, and he didnt.

    Other non-trin debates centre around OT writtings in which Jehovah says “Hear Oh Yisrael the Lord your God is ONE”

    this proves Nothing because “One” can be singular, or plural of any number. Therefore, “One” is no defence for singularity of “Being”.

    Fore instance, “Who really is the FDS who the master will appoint over all his belongings”. Is this a singular or Plural designation? many will argue and quote Jehovah in support of a plural choosing since Jehovah Called Yisrael “My Servent” in the Singular even though Yisrael were many.

    The seed of Abraham is singular “and he said not Seeds but One seed who is christ” Yet, abrahams seed although designated in the singular actually was Plural of Thousands; “if you are abrahams seed you are christs” [seed-not seeds].

    The bride of Christ is singular, but consist of thousands. so i hope that singularr definitions can have plural applications so its not that simple to quote OT verses saying “look God says, The lord your God is ONE” because so often as i have shown singular representations can and do have plural applications without the need of contradictions.

    In John 1;1 Moffatt is showing the Heavenly nature of Christ as Divine as was his fathers Nature.

    to prove my point if i wanted to show that Eve had the same nature as Adam wouldnt i say the following;

    In the Beginning was EVE and EVE was with Adam and EVE was MORTAL,

    Enough said and Yet I am still Non-Trinitarian although i will remove the beam from my own eye i’m being honest with my interpretations i hope.

    What say you in response.

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